U.S. Political Season Begins: 'Morally Coherent' Catholics Can Change this Nation
not. Rights are not ethereal concepts floating around in the cosmos somewhere. Rights are endowed by a Creator not conferred by the State. They are goods of the human person. Our opposition to the judicial manufacture of a "right" to take innocent human life in the womb must never take a back seat to any other concern in the public policy arena. Freedom must be exercised with reference to what is true and good in any just and moral society.
Abortion, in the words of the Venerable John Paul II, is only the "cutting edge of the culture of death." Any time human persons are treated as "products" to be used, aborted, discarded, manipulated, enslaved, traded, made a means rather than an end.. there we find the "culture of death." We must expose, oppose and replace it. Catholics will be judged the most severely if we fail to act. The Biblical adage should echo in our ears, "To those, to whom much is given, much more will be required!"
We are living under what Pope Benedict XVI called a "Dictatorship of Relativism" in the West. The culture stumbles, drunken on the false notion of freedom as giving some people a "right" to kill the innocent, divorced from norms to guide the exercise of human choice and govern our behavior. When there is a wholesale effort to deny the existence of anything objectively true which can be known by all and form the basis of our common life, then there is no real freedom. Instead, we teeter on the brink of anarchy.
Now, let's talk about the two major political parties in the United States. On the predominant human rights issue of our age the leadership of the Democratic Party has lost its soul. One simply cannot be a faithful Catholic and hold what is euphemistically called a "pro-choice" position on abortion. I, like many of my fellow Catholic Americans, grew up equating being Catholic with being a Democrat because I thought Democrats cared more about the poor, the working class, the marginalized and those with no voice. I was wrong. The elite of the Democratic Party have embraced a notion of "freedom" as a power over others and "choice" as a right to do whatever one wants.
The failure to hear the cry of the child in the womb while mouthing the language of caring for the poor is unbridled hypocrisy. Medical science has confirmed what our conscience has always known, that child in the womb is one of us. His or her voice cannot be heard because it is muffled in the once hallowed home of the womb and disregarded by political opportunists. Yes, there may be a few truly Pro-Life Democrats. However, after the experience of the Health Care debate this past year, even this former Democrat is beginning to have my doubts.
However, I hear what I call "political dualism" being touted once again in Republican circles. The idea that there are "social" and "economic" issues and they must be kept separate. Proponents claim we can "only win if we stay focused on the economic issues". Nonsense! The reason we should care about expanding economic opportunity is because we respect the dignity of every human person, including our smallest neighbors. The reason we should want to ensure the application of the principle of subsidiarity to keep government at the lowest level, is because we respect the primacy of the family. We must reject the efforts to divide the "economic" and "social" spheres.
The Republican Party has not fared well on placing in the positive law protection for the Right to Life even though that Right is acknowledged in their platform. They have sometimes fed the stereotype used by their opponents that they care about children only when they are in the womb. Some Republicans seem to favor a "survival of the fittest" approach to the market economy which does not recognize our obligations in human solidarity. Though "big government" solutions have not worked well in the delivery of charity the Republican Party has not talked enough about empowering the mediating associations to deliver that charity.
In the past, some Republicans have decried centralized economic planning as leading to collectivism and warned about the growth of the Federal Government - but then participated in propounding the problem when they were in power. We must not let that happen again. Some espouse a brand of "libertarianism" that cares little about our social obligations to one another. We are our brothers/sisters keepers and Catholics must never forget that. Rejecting big government solutions doesn't mean rejecting our obligation in solidarity. It means building a ground up model of economic opportunity which expands opportunity and participation to all.
Catholics are not one more "interest group" which can be polled, pandered to and bought. Our social obligation is to promote the true common good, not just use the slogan to sound "catholic" as happened in the last political cycle. We need to promote the truth as taught by the Church no matter what it is labeled in the political parlance of the hour. Our political participation must be committed to human life and dignity, marriage and the family, authentic human freedom, and solidarity directed by the application of the principle of subsidiarity. The U.S. Political Season has begun in earnest. 'Morally Coherent' Catholics can change this Nation.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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